Expo honors culture, entertains students

Oscar Abello

University students, faculty and family members packed the Villanova Room in the Connelly Center on Saturday to watch the Asian Expo 2005, the annual dinner and show produced by the Asian Students’ Association.

Each year this event showcases the best of Asian culture at the University, including traditional dances, music, comedy and food.

This year’s event chairperson was Irene “Yelee” Jo, who was supposed to have been studying in Japan this semester, but instead stayed at the University for two extra weeks to carry out her responsibilities. She returned home to Chicago on Monday morning, and will be leaving for Japan to study shortly.

“I was truly privileged that I was the Asian Expo chair this year,” Jo said. “Despite the stressful days and nights worrying about all the nitty gritty details that no one would notice, seeing the audience’s faces that night made my heart smile.”

The theme for this year was “Asiana Elegance.” The night began with a fashion show, emceed by sophomore Nina Tran and freshman Lilly An. Traditional Asian clothing from China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan and Korea was featured.

“I know it was only my first, but I think the fashion show went really well this year, and I can’t wait to do it again next year,” An said.

Later in the evening dancers performed the traditional Filipino dance of tinikling. In this dance, performers dance around two bamboo sticks held horizontally and “clapped” together.

The dance is meant to mimic native birds of the Philippines as they wade through swamps looking for food. Traditionally, underclassmen have performed this dance.

“I remember my first Asian Expo, freshman year. I had to perform, and Dan Berroya was my partner,” senior Jessica Mendoza said.

“Four years later he’s one of my best friends, all because of tinikling.”

Several performers came in from outside the University. Students from UPenn performed the Den Voi Nhau, a Vietnamese wedding dance.

Students from Swarthmore College performed the Taiko, a percussion act.

The highlight of the evening was the modern tinikling performance. A fusion of tinikling and contemporary hip hop dancing, this is the main event each year.

This year’s routine featured a performance to Linkin Park’s “Breaking the Habit,” performed with only blacklights and glow sticks to illuminate the stage and the bamboo sticks.

“It was really great to see them try something new with tinikling. The black lights were awesome. I can barely imagine how much practice it took to nail that routine,” sophomore Patrica Wanandi, who attended the event, said.

“It took two weeks of hard work, and we’re all glad that’s over,” said senior Daniel Berroya, “but at the same time we seniors are a little sad that it’s our last Asian Expo.”